Tropical Looking Plants for the Yard

Create a tropical oasis by planting exotic plants around the yard. Many perennial plants and flowers are available to grow to evoke the feeling of being on a tropical island but within the confines of your home. They each have their own growing requirements, color, shape and size to create a "jungly" feel to the garden. Some tropical plants are larger than others and look striking along the back of the garden for a commanding landscape presence.

Elephant Ear

Elephant ear (Colocasia esculenta), a summer perennial tropical looking plant, has a moderate growth rate and clump-like form. The giant deep purple stalks rise to a commanding 36 inches to hold the heart-shaped leaves. The leaves are gray to black for a rich, jewel-like landscape addition. Elephant ear prefers moist borders and aquatic settings like water gardens. Ideal planted along the backdrop of a tropical flower bed, elephant ear provides height and fullness to a yard. Elephant ear grows 3 to 6 feet tall for a showy addition to the landscape. They thrive in partial shade and medium to wet soils. The USDA hardiness zone for planting is 11.

Canna Lily

Canna lily (Canna x generalis), a tropical flower with bright color, is a summer blooming flower with an upright form. Canna lilies grow up to 48 inches tall and have bright green leaves that grow 6 inches wide. The variety of tropical looking blooms include, red, orange, pink and yellow. Summer-blooming, these flowers produce bright flowers until the first frost of the season. With their tropical foliage and bright blooms, canna lilies are ideal plants to grow in a tropical flower border or garden. Drought-tolerant, canna lilies require full sun and fertile, rich soils to flourish. The USDA hardiness zone for planting is 8 to 10.


A summer-blooming tropical flower, hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) blooms add tropical flair to the garden with their upright, dense form. The funnel-shaped blooms are double or single and grow 4 to 8 inches wide for a large flowerhead. The bright, tropical flower colors include red, pink, yellow and white and are striking against their contrasting yellow and red stamens. Hibiscus grows up to 15 feet tall and 5 to 8 feet wide, creating a vibrant presence in the garden. Hibiscus plants require full sun and moist, well-drained soils to flourish. The USDA hardiness zone for planting is 5 to 9.

Keywords: tropical yard plants, elephant ear, canna lily, hibiscus blooms

About this Author

Callie Barber is a writer, designer and photographer in North Carolina. Barber's love for design and writing inspired her to create Design Your Revolution, a blog that shares creative and affordable ways to decorate your indoor and outdoor living environment. Her articles have appeared in and and her photography has been featured in "Automotive News" magazine and